Free and Open

October 14 is a day that is important to Scholars for several reasons, one of which is that this year, it will be the first Open Access Day. As we have reiterated many times in this blog and elsewhere, our main goal in creating Scholars without Borders is to enable access... and that is a goal that happily is shared by many people across the globe.

The results of publicly funded research is often published in journals that cost a huge amount of money for subscription, thus making them effectively inaccessible to other scholars. The movement towards Open Access journals is gathering momentum worldwide, and to sensitise the higher education community to its potential, SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), the Public Library of Science (PLoS), and Students for FreeCulture (SFC) have jointly announced the first international Open Access Day on October 14, 2008.

Open Access is the principle that publicly funded research should be freely accessible online, immediately after publication. It uses the Internet to throw open the locked doors that once hid knowledge. It encourages the unrestricted sharing of research results with everyone, everywhere, for the advancement and enjoyment of science and society.

These are goals that we enthusiastically endorse. For one thing, the Indian scholarly community has been at the forefront of the movement, though without much fanfare and without its attendant benefits, regrettably. It is not widely known that from the time the journals of the Indian Academy of Sciences went online, for instance, they were Open Access, and truly free- both for authors as well as readers. This is in contrast to many of the more visible and prestigious open access journals like those published by PLoS, say, where authors have to pay a hefty amount to ensure that their work is open access. In contrast, Current Science, Pramana, Journal of Biosciences, Resonance... indeed, all the Academy journals are open access. Try them out (we've linked the journal home pages above!

But the Open Access movement in India goes well beyond just the Academy journals. While we were searching for some information on a publisher in Jabalpur (but more on that in a later post), we came across the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology. That too, is open access. As are about sixty other journals just in the area of medicine. Published by Medknow, these journals are of high quality and address key issues. in a range of areas, mostly in the medical sciences. Here is a list:

  • African Journal of Paediatric Surgery (Afr J Paediatr Surg)

  • Annals of Cardiac Anaesthesia (Ann Card Anaesth)

  • Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology (Ann Indian Acad Neurol)

  • Annals of Pediatric Cardiology (Ann Pediatr Card)

  • Annals of Thoracic Medicine (Ann Thorac Med)

  • Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health (Ann Trop Med Public Health)

  • Asian Journal of Pharmaceutics (Asian J Pharm)

  • Asian Journal of Transfusion Science (Asian J Transfus Sci)

  • CytoJournal (CytoJournal)

  • Hepatitis B Annual (Hep B Annual)

  • IETE Technical Review (IETE Tech Rev)

  • Indian Journal of Cancer (Indian J Cancer)

  • Indian Journal of Community Medicine (Indian J Community Med)

  • Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine (Indian J Crit Care Med)

  • Indian Journal of Dental Research (Indian J Dent Res)

  • Indian Journal of Dermatology (Indian J Dermatol)

  • Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology (Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol)

  • Indian Journal of Gastroenterology (Indian J Gastroenterol)

  • Indian Journal of Human Genetics (Indian J Hum Genet)

  • Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology (Indian J Med Microbiol)

  • Indian Journal of Medical Sciences (Indian J Med Sci)

  • Indian Journal of Nephrology (Indian J Nephrol)

  • Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Indian J Occup Environ Med)

  • Indian Journal of Ophthalmology (Indian J Ophthalmol)

  • Indian Journal of Orthopaedics (Indian J Orthop)

  • Indian Journal of Palliative Care (Indian J Palliat Care)

  • Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology (Indian J Pathol Microbiol)

  • Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Indian J Pharm Sci)

  • Indian Journal of Pharmacology (Indian J Pharmacol)

  • Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery (Indian J Plast Surg)

  • Indian Journal of Psychiatry (Indian J Psychiatry)

  • Indian Journal of Radiology and Imaging (Indian J Radiol Imaging)

  • Indian Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS (Indian J Sex Transm Dis)

  • Indian Journal of Urology (Indian J Urol)

  • International Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries (Int J Diab Dev Ctries)

  • International Journal of Green Pharmacy (Int J Green Pharm)

  • International Journal of Shoulder Surgery (Int J Shoulder Surg)

  • International Journal of Yoga (Int J Yoga)

  • Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics (J Can Res Ther)

  • Journal of Carcinogenesis (J Carcinog)

  • Journal of Conservative Dentistry (J Conserv Dent)

  • Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery (J Cutan Aesthet Surg)

  • Journal of Cytology (J Cytol)

  • Journal of Emergencies, Trauma and Shock (J Emerg Trauma Shock)

  • Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences (J Hum Reprod Sci)

  • Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons (J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg)

  • Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry (J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent)

  • Journal of Medical Physics (J Med Phys)

  • Journal of Minimal Access Surgery (J Min Access Surg)

  • Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology (J Oral Maxillofac Pathol)

  • Journal of Pediatric Neurosciences (J Pediatr Neurosci)

  • Journal of Postgraduate Medicine (J Postgrad Med)

  • Medical Law Cases for Doctors (Med Law Cases Doct)

  • Mens Sana Monographs (Mens Sana Monogr)

  • Neurology India (Neurol India)

  • Noise and Health (Noise Health)

  • Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology (Saudi J Gastroenterol)

  • Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation (Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl)

  • The Journal of Indian Prosthodontic Society (J Indian Prosthodont Soc)

  • It is truly phenomenal that all these scholarly journals are freely available for anyone to read, and we wish more people knew about them... Here is how they describe themselves on their website:

    "Medknow Publications is a publisher for academic and scientific, peer-reviewed, online+print open access journals. The publishing house is committed to the improving the visibility and accessibility of the science from the developing world. Its endeavor in continuously re-inventing the publishing methodology for about a decade has resulted in high quality peer-reviewed scholarly journals. Medknow pioneers in 'fee-less-free' model of open access publishing and provides immediate free access to the electronic editions of the journals without charging the author or author's institution for submission, processing or publication of the articles.

    Medknow, with over 65 print + online journals, is probably the largest open access publisher of print journals in the world which does not charge author or author institution for submission, processing or publication of articles. Each journal published by Medknow has its independent website. The websites use the OpenURL standard, making it easy for libraries to link users as directly as possible from citation to the full text of the article. The open access policy has resulted in more than a half a million article downloads in a month all the journals."

    All these journals and many more can be accessed directly via the Open Access Journals page on the Scholars website.

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